Packers Hire Jeff Hafley As DC

Green Bay has landed on a defensive coordinator hire. The Packers are set to bring in Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley as their new DC, ESPN’s Pete Thamel reports.

Hafley took his first NFL coaching gig in 2012 when he became an assistant defensive backs coach with the Buccaneers. He took charge of Tampa’s DBs the following season, later doing the same with the Browns and 49ers. Hafley returned to the college ranks in 2019, serving as Ohio State’s co-defensive coordinator. That led him to Boston College’s head coaching role, which he held from 2020-23.

The 44-year-old did not have a known connection to an NFL DC posting since 2019. That includes being off the radar, in terms of known interviews, of the Packers through this year’s search. In a move which came as little surprise, Green Bay elected to fire Joe Barry after the team’s divisional round elimination. A long list of candidates emerged to fill the opening, but the team has gone in a different direction.

The Packers conducted at least three interviews for their Barry replacement, and another was lined up. Other staffers, including sought-after Panthers DC Ejiro Evero, were named as potential Green Bay targets. None of them have landed the position, though, one which will come with serious expectations given the highly-drafted players present on the Packers’ defense and the unit’s shortcomings under Barry.

Green Bay posted finishes of 13th, 17th and 10th in terms of points allowed over the past three seasons. Struggles against the run in particular were present for much of Barry’s tenure, and improvement in that regard will no doubt be a priority for Hafley. The latter led the Eagles to a 22-26 record during his time in charge, earning bowl eligibility for the school three times.

Boston College allowed an average of 28.3 points and just under 384 yards per game in 2023 while generating 1.3 takeaways per contest. Green Bay posted only seven interceptions in 2023, and better production in the secondary would go a long way toward overall improvement on defense moving forward. Hafley’s background working with defensive backs could help in that regard.

As Thamel notes, Hafley and head coach Matt LaFleur are close friends. Their relationship will now continue at the NFL level, with the former becoming the third DC in the latter’s time at the helm in Green Bay. The Packers’ defense will be worth watching closely as Haley makes a long-awaited return to the pro game and takes on his first career NFL coordinator gig.

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